Hot weather troubleshooting
I recently moved from the northeast to the southeast, and I'm having a tough time adjusting my baking schedule to suit the hotter climate. Who's got ideas and tips for adjusting to a hotter ambient temperature? I know the general rules about tweaking water temperature and rise/proofing times, but I can't seem to get the mix quite right.
I'll use the Overnight Country Blonde from FWSY as a specific example. In my old apartment, with a kitchen temperature of about 73-76 degrees, I would:
- In the late morning of Day 1, refresh starter from refrigerator, with final starter temperature of 78 degrees.
- 24 hours later, in the late morning of Day 2, I'd feed my starter again, with final starter temperature of 78 degrees.
- About 8 hours later, I would mix my final dough, 30 minute autolyse, so the final dough mix was again at 78 degrees.
- I'd add four folds over the next three hours before going to bed, and let the final dough rise for 12 hours.
- On the morning of Day 3, I'd let it proof for 3.5 hours at morning room temperature (66 degrees) and then for 30 minutes in the refrigerator while I preheated my cast iron dutch oven and ceramic dutch oven in the oven to 475 degrees.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered and 12 minutes uncovered.
I arrived at this sequence after a lot of tweaking, and it was some of the best tasting and best looking bread I've ever made.
Now, however, my kitchen temperature stays at a pretty constant 83 degrees, and I'm really struggling to adjust. I've adjusted my water temperature so that each step my dough still ends up at 78 degrees, as I did before, and I've tried to watch my dough and let that dictate my timing. Everything seems to go OK up to the final proof. Here's what I've done so far:
- Refresh starter in morning on Day 1.
- Feed starter again in the evening of Day 1, about 12 hours later.
- In the morning of Day 2, mix the final dough, and apply four folds over the next few hours.
- After 10 hours of rising, about triple in volume, with big bubbles visible just below the dough's surface but not yet bursting through, and quite jiggly, separate into loaves.
- *Up to that point, everything has looked great.*
- Proof for 12 hours in refrigerator OR proof three hours at room temperature (I've tried it both ways).
- Bake for 30 covered and 12 uncovered at 475.
The final bread tastes pretty good, but the texture is a little dense, and there's almost no oven spring. I know the thing to do is really to just keep experimenting and taking notes, but I'm hoping someone can help give me some better direction. I can't tell if I'm letting my dough rise for too long in the bulk fermentation stage (given the hot room temp) or else not letting it proof enough (though the finger-dent test makes it seem like I'm giving it the right amount of time). Like I said, I'm a little stumped. Help please!